By Amy ValmUpdated May 04, 2016
1. Rocky Point Park Like most places in BC, beautiful scenery surrounds this family-friendly park. In the Vancouver suburb of Port Moody, pint-sized adventurers will go wild for the epic splash pad that has a multi-nozzle system. Then dry off on the grassy fields, or run through the ocean-themed jungle gym at the playground. Want even more fun? There's a seasonal outdoor pool, a skateboard park, and hiking and biking trails.
Go play: 2800 Block, Murray St., Port Moody. 604-469-4500 portmoody.ca>
2. Coal Harbour Playground Beside the Coal Harbour Community Centre is a red-and-white inner-city playground complete with swing sets, wide plastic tubes to navigate through and the usual spread of climbers and slides. Park benches offer a comfortable place for parents to sit on the sidelines. Oh yeah, the view of the harbour isn’t bad, either.
Go play: 480 Broughton St., Vancouver. 604-718-8222 vancouver.ca>
3. Garden City Community Park About 30 minutes outside of Vancouver, kids got to help design this park. Jeff Cutler, the park’s architect, asked local kids what they thought would make the coolest playground. The end result features a pyramid of climbing nets that lead to swings and slides (including one built into a hill). Plus, the park features a few natural elements including a climbable tree stump and bolder. An uncovered picnic table area, benches, drinking fountains and washrooms with change tables are available on-site. Open year-round.
Go play: 6620 Garden City Rd., Richmond. 604-276-4000 richmond.ca>
4. Lions Park After a substantial renovation, this bustling park, nestled beside the Coquitlam river, is now home to a playground with huge tractor tires for climbing, a long metal slide to slip down, a sandbox, grassy turf and plenty of ladders and bars to hang off of and climb up on. For the bigger kids, there are swings, and even a zipline! If it's a hot day, the little ones can cool off in the water spray zone. Parents will appreciate the newly renovated washrooms and covered picnic shelter. The park is safe and accessible for children of all abilities. If you’re looking for something a little more sporty, there is also a large skate park, sport court and paved trail system to enjoy.
Go play: 2300 Lions Way, Port Coquitlam. portcoquitlam.ca>
5. Stanley Park Famous for its scenic jogging paths and ocean views, this 1,001-acre hub is home to four awesome play areas. Second Beach features a sprawling jungle gym with a pristine view of the Pacific, concession stands (selling hamburgers, hot dogs, fish and chips, ice cream and salad) and a bevy of climbing, swinging, crawling and hanging structures. You can also visit the Second Beach outdoor pool to cool off in on a hot day. Just across the field is the smaller Ceperley playground—it has a covered picnic area, a climbable toy fire truck, and plenty of space to run around. Take a 10-minute walk across the park and you’ll find yourself at the Rose Garden playground, a beautiful botanical oasis with a basic jungle gym. Nearby is Lumbermen’s Arch, Stanley Park’s famed splash pad featuring an array of upright sprinklers, including six massive yellow arms shooting cool water. Washrooms, change rooms, changing tables and drinking fountains can be found near all playgrounds. If the kids are feeling adventurous, hop on the infamous Stanley Park Train (for a fee) for an unforgettable ride through beautiful scenery! Open from 7 a.m. to dusk starting the first Saturday in May to the last Sunday in November, or 9-5 otherwise.
Go play:8501 Stanley Park Dr., Vancouver 604-681-6728 vancouver.ca>
6. Rainbow Playland at Queen’s Park Established in 1887, this sprawling 75-acre park is anything but old-fangled. Located about 30 minutes outside the city, kids can monkey around on the roped climbing apparatus and slide down the fire pole. On sticky summer days, the splash pad—with several nozzle apparatuses—will keep you cool. When the babes are tuckered out from running wild, wind down with a trip to the on-site petting zoo or take a casual stroll through the beautiful gardens. There are washrooms, a Treat's concession stand, and picnic tables nearby.
Go play: 1 Street 3 Ave. New Westminster. 604-777-5111 newestpcr.ca>
7. John Lawson Playground and Splash Pad Ahoy, mateys! This sandy pirate-themed playground has great ocean views, old rickety-looking (but totally new and secure—it’s all about the pirate aesthetic) ships for climbing and testing your dangling skills on. Plus, lots of swings for big and little kids and a fabulous splash pad with tall nozzles to take the edge off on hot summer days.
Go play: 17th St., West Vancouver. 604-925-7275 westvancouver.ca>
8. Terra Nova Adventure Play Environment Nature-loving kids will enjoy frolicking in this Vancouver suburb park. The playground, part of a $1-million sustainable project, is built in a former farm field and is shielded by trees in Terra Nova Rural Park. A sand and water area will keep toddlers entertained, and bigger kids can climb on the multi-platform tree house then slide down the spiral slide. And when little ones aren’t busy navigating The Log Jam (a series of BC cedar logs designed to mimic walking along beach logs), they can test their bravery on the 35-metre long zipline. Yippee!
Go play: 2340 River Rd., Richmond. richmond.ca>
9. Murdo Frazer Park
If you’re in North Vancouver, be sure to check out this small, but totally loveable, play spread. Kids can balance along spring-mounted pedestals to reach the multi-tiered climber, which poses an exciting challenge for both little and bigger kids. Or your teeny explorer can hone their skills on the rope climber and mini rock wall. If they need to take a break from climbing, there’s a rippled slide, a swing set, teeter-totter and plenty of grassy space to sprawl out on with a picnic.
3043 Elizabeth Way, North Vancouver